Facebook bans QAnon

Facebook has announced a complete ban on QAnon groups and accounts on its platform, a "significant escalation" after weeks of foot-dragging on the subject.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Facebook said its staff had begun removing content and deleting groups and pages, but that "this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks".

"Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports," the statement added.

The company made a show of deleting some prominent QAnon material in August, but the pro-Trump political cult has only grown in prominence since.

Over the summer, Facebook became a hotbed of conspiracy theories and extreme political messaging, much of it hidden from public view in private groups and feeds. With its vast database of individual sentiments and media diets, Facebook sees the underwater portion of America's political iceberg, and its unique insight into voting intentions is graphed at a scale pollsters can only dream of. No-one is better positioned to manipulate November's vote through even the most innocuous-seeming shifts in policy enforcement.

Given that, I can't help but wonder if this particular about-face signals that Mark Zuckerberg is giving up on Trump (who complains but does nothing) and cleaning house to appease his adveraries (some of whom want to break up Facebook).